Why are we so busy? Maybe it’s guilt.
Two weeks ago, we started talking about the danger of the busy lives that we are all living. We talked about how busyness saps our joy, attacks our heart, and can act as a facade to cover up the deep rooted problems that are in our souls.
Now we are talking about some of the core issues that may cause us to be too busy. Last week we looked at how pride can be an impetus for our busyness. Today, we want to look at guilt. Let’s look at some of the ways in which guilt can motivate us to be overly busy.
There are lazy, apathetic, self-centered people out there who need to do something with their lives, commit to their families, and help others in need, but there are also others who want so badly to help and to do the right thing that they try to do 100 things and do none of them well. People like this just end up overwhelmed and overly busy.
As I talk about this specific topic, I feel as though it is super relevant to followers of Jesus. I talk to Christians all the time who feel ladened by guilt about all the things they aren’t doing. This is a stereotype of the church as a whole, isn’t it? People feeling guilty about what they aren’t doing, constantly feeling like they are letting God down.
Let’s pause for a moment and acknowledge that the Bible has a lot to say about everything from the poor to the widow to evangelism to orphans to reaching the nations and on and on. As a pastor, it would be easy for me to - week after week - harp about all the things we should be doing, but we aren’t. How come you aren’t feeding the hungry? How come you aren’t building an orphanage? How come you aren’t moving to Africa to help with the AIDs epidemic?
It is easy to tell people that they should be doing more, but here is the truth: you can’t do it all, and you aren’t supposed to.
Is it possible that God is not asking me to do anything about XYZ social issue right now? The answer is: maybe!
Many people hear the urgent calls to do more and then learn to live with a spreading of guilt on their lives from not doing them. Biblically, I do not think this is how we are supposed to live. Here are some thoughts to give you freedom.
You are not the Messiah, so don’t try to be. There is good news and it is found in Christ’s death and resurrection. Caring is not the same as doing. We SHOULD care about all the suffering in the world, but we can’t DO SOMETHING about every single little nuance of suffering. There’s a big difference.
We all have different gifts, different callings, different burdens from God, and we don’t need more Christians making us live under a rock of guilt for not having the same passion and calling as them. It is unbiblical and false to think that just because I am deeply involved in X issue, you need to be involved in the same issue or you are wrong and in sin. Why?
The church only functions when everyone is doing their part. We are not all little microcosms of Christ walking around. It is together, as the people of God corporately, that we will accurately reflect (prayerfully and hopefully) who Jesus is! This is why the Bible describes God’s people as a body with Jesus as the head. Some of us are a foot, some are a hand, some are a kneecap, and so on.
What this means practically is that not everyone will work with victims of sex trafficking, the homeless, the elderly, the orphan, or the widow. Not everyone will be a missionary in a far away land. Not everyone will plant a church or be a pastor. Not everyone will have the same passion for whatever it is that you are passionate about, and just because someone else is acting like it should be your passion too doesn’t mean that you need to embrace it hook, line, and sinker.
Remember this: Jesus didn’t do it all, but he did everything that God asked him to do. Jesus stepped over blind beggars and sick people to heal just one, only to turn back around and step over the masses. Jesus left towns early in the morning only to have fathers arrive an hour later carrying their sick children. Jesus left mentally ill men roaming the countryside. He left despondent people still wallowing in their disappointment and shame during his earthly ministry. Jesus didn’t do it all, yet he did everything God asked him to do.
What are you called to do? Do that, care for the rest, pray about it, but let someone else have it be their passion.